The Governments of Bangladesh and Denmark initiated the first phase of Agriculture Sector Programme Support (ASPS I) in July 2000, and the second phase was initiated in October 2006. The ASPS is based on a long history of bilateral cooperation in agriculture, livestock and fisheries. ASPS I and II comprised components within the crops, fisheries, livestock, seeds and horticulture sub-sectors. The components had the common development objective of optimised, integrated, and sustainable smallholder agricultural production for improved living conditions. This first phase was concluded by June 2006, and at the High Level Consultations held in late 2004, Bangladesh and Denmark it was agreed to continue the sector programme into a second phase. At the same time, a Rural Roads component was included under the agriculture sector programme. The Danish Parliament allocated 531 million DKK to the ASPS II for the period 2006 – 2011, which in 2010 was extended up to 2013, within the budget frame. ASPS II covers three components: Agriculture Extension (AEC), Regional Fisheries and Livestock Development (RFLDC), and Rural Roads and Market Access (RRMAC).
The RFLDC is an integral part of the overall Agricultural Sector Support Programme phase two and focuses on fisheries and livestock development in Greater Noakhali and Barisal Division in the southern coastal area of Bangladesh. In doing so, the RFLDC builds on previous efforts under ASPS I in the same regions with added geographical areas, and with a focus on the more remote and marginal coastal and riverine charlands, characterised by high concentrations of poverty.
The immediate objective of the RFLDC, which contributes to the overall development objective of the sector programme, is: Improved and sustainable productivity of and returns from fisheries and livestock systems of resource-poor households.
The actual implementations are done through Community Based Organisations (CBOs), formed by and having the direct contacts to the beneficiaries. The CBOs are implementing Farmers Field Schools and organizing input and output services for the local farmers, with support from RFLDC. At the end of RFLDC implementation by the end of 2012, it is expected that at least 500,000 resource poor farmers and fishers will have increased their household income from fisheries and livestock activities and improved their livelihood and nutritional status.
The RFLDC is based on the national Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP, 2005) as well as the Strategy for Development Cooperation between Bangladesh and Denmark, 2005. The RFLDC directly contributes to the targets in the PRSP relating to poverty reduction through agriculture, fisheries and livestock, rural development and decentralisation, including the first major goal of the PRSP of “Removing the ‘ugly faces’ of poverty by eradicating hunger, chronic food insecurity and extreme destitution”.